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Pandemic Adjacent Activities

Lisa-Teen April 22, 2020

It’s nearly impossible to do anything now without succumbing to the realities of our shelter in place order here in Ohio.  So, I have decided to offer a list of Pandemic Adjacent Activities, since admit it, you have been thinking about it too.


My happy place is usually contained in the pages of whatever book I am reading, so a review of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s series, “The Last Survivors”, whisked me off to Pennsylvania, New York City, and Tennessee. I actually stumbled upon this series in mid-February while I was making a display for last month, “March Into A New Series.” 


The Last Survivors series includes four books by Pfeffer.  Click the link to find print and electronic copies that can be either placed on hold or checked out using your MRCPL library card.

Life as We Knew It (2006)

The Dead and the Gone (2008)

This World We Live In (2010)

The Shade of the Moon (2013)


Basically the premise is how life changes after the moon gets hit by an asteroid.  Scientists were aware of this upcoming phenomenon, and it was promoted by teachers and scholars alike as a huge, historic event. Unfortunately, the scientists underestimated the potential danger, as well as the velocity of the meteor and the impact of force when it crashed into the moon.  This collision pushed the moon out of its orbit and closer to the Earth, causing all sorts of natural disasters.


The first book and the second book each occur at the same time but in different locations in the United States, which I think is a pretty cool concept. LAWKI follows Miranda and her family in rural Pennsylvania and TDATG tracks Alex and his family in New York City as both families struggle with the harsh realities of the aftermath. In the third book,TWWLI, the two households meet and from there their lives are intertwined forever. At the end of TWWLI, the two families, at the end of their resources, decide to travel to Tennessee to locate an elite hidden safe community.  In the final installment of The Last Survivors series, the family unit is divided, and some members live in luxury inside the compound, while the others barely scrape by just outside the safe community’s heavily guarded walls.  


While reading this series, I found it hard not to draw some interesting parallels between this series and what is currently occurring in our everyday life. I know my family, as well as several as my neighbors, could not find toilet paper for nearly four weeks. In TWWLI, Miranda and Alex scavenged for supplies and are delighted over the find of half used toilet paper rolls in the houses that had been abandoned.  I was also extremely surprised to go grocery shopping near the beginning of this pandemic and find entire aisles in the store empty of items usually in plentiful supply.  Due to these sporadic shortages of some products, we have gotten creative in our house.  I love green onions, but just the long green stems. Did you know that you can regrow the green onion stems if you place the bulbs in a glass of water and expose to sunlight?  I’ve been doing this and also regrowing celery stalks in this way (but that is taking much, much longer).

When their small town library was finally closed after months of limited hours in Pennsylvania, the librarian told them on the last day before they closed their doors, to take as many books as they could and return them when they were able after this is all over. This is probably why, when Alex and Miranda scavenged houses for supplies, Miranda often included books in their loot.  


The most bizarre similarity for me was near the end of the first two installments, a virulent flu strain ravaged both of their communities (and most of the US) including many medical personnel, and was eerily compared to the 1918 flu outbreak as the novel COVID-19 virus is today.  


In the end, this series truly helped me by realizing even more than ever how to be thankful for the blessings we have been given, that it's ok to mourn the loss of missed events and seeing people we love on a daily basis, and how to navigate and deal with reality of a new normal for the foreseeable future. 


Check out these links to Mythbusters episodes that deal with germs and contagiousness.  As usual, Jamie and Adam always offer eye-opening results:


Mythbusters Contamination

MythBusters - Art of the Sneeze | Flu Fiction

Mythbusters Double Dipping

Mythbusters: Hidden Nasties: Nastier than a Toilet

Bathroom Hygiene Myth | MythBusters

Also, since we are encouraged to wear masks in public, here are two ways to make masks without using a sewing machine:


Make a mask out of a sock

Make two different style masks out of a long sleeve t-shirt

Last but not least are ways you can spread kindness to others: 


Hallmark Card Giveaway


While supplies last, Hallmark will send you three cards for you to show your  appreciation to the heroes in your life, whether they are first responders, essential personnel, or a neighbor or friend who checks in on you.  Just fill out the form and help Hallmark get two million cards to deserving people who risk their lives to help others.


Clean out your closet!


This is the perfect time to dive to the back of your closet to rid it of those items that just never see the light of day.  If you haven’t worn it in a year, donate it!  This also goes for shoes, too!  Lots of people will be so grateful for a sweater to keep them warm or shoes to keep their feet dry.  There are agencies around town where you can drop off donations, but don’t overlook your local churches - sometimes they have community clothes closets.  


Also - you can donate freshly washed but stained or slightly ripped towels or blankets to your local animal shelter.  Your furry friends will thank you!  

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